From the Editor: Google Learns to Share
As this issue goes to press, Google has just announced its magazine archive project, where it will scan millions of articles from consumer magazines and present them online as digital versions of the magazines, with contextual ads running alongside each page of content. The project is similar to Google’s Book Search effort, where it has scanned and digitized the contents of thousands of books, and made the contents searchable online. In fact, the magazine archive initially will be accessible only through Google Book Search (Books.Google.com), as it will share the same platform. Eventually, Google will integrate the magazine search results into its Google.com search, according to the company. The good news is that the result of Google’s several-year-long court battle with book publishing industry constituents seems to have taught the search engine monolith something about taking other people’s content and profiting exclusively from it. An out-of-court settlement was reached in late October between Google, the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild requiring Google to compensate book publishers and authors whose works are part of Google Book Search, as well as pay $125 million, with part of that going toward establishing a Book Rights Registry. The registry will monitor compensation for publishers and authors, and work to resolve any future disputes.
So, for its new magazine archives, Google will cover the costs to scan the pages, as it did for its Book Search, but unlike its initial model for digitizing book content, it will share revenues from the contextual ads with publishers. Google also will not digitize publications without a magazine publisher’s permission. (Book publishers have to “opt-out” of the Book Search program in order not to have their books scanned.)
Some publications that already have joined the magazine archive project are: New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics and Ebony. (To see a sample, visit Books.Google.com and search for “Ebony.”)